For Tina Bruley, a theater and choral arts teacher at Crestwood Middle School, performance is more than a day job. She's one of 10 actors appearing in Way Off Broadway's 20th anniversary revue, a musical mash-up of greatest hits from the past two decades of the theater's shows interspersed with behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

The show opened Oct. 24, and you can catch performances through Nov. 15. We chatted last week about her favorite moments and why she's stuck around so darn long.

Bruley's career with the dinner and children's theater troupe is short on dull moments, from being cast opposite a former student as the leads in "Grease" ("It was awkward, but it worked out") to consoling a child whose mother was in a grounded airplane on Sept. 11, 2001 ("This little girl would be having panic attacks backstage ... she wanted her mom constantly").

Way Off Broadway, tucked into a shopping center on the Golden Mile stretch of West Patrick Street, is the Jefferson resident's home away from home. The 52-year-old started in the years before it changed owners and names, sometimes working as bartender and dishwasher.

The group is expanding its onstage offerings, Bruley said, to provide more unique, personal theatergoing experiences.

"Anytime you can engage people in live performances ... you never see the same show twice," she said. "The actors directly feed off the audience."

She prefers the dinner shows to less-flattering children's performances, especially when her students are watching.

"If they're going to see me," she said, "I want them to see me doing something more prestigious than being in a chicken costume."

Schools OK after smoke, power issues

Green Valley Elementary School and Windsor Knolls Middle School lost power shortly before 11 a.m. Monday after someone struck a nearby power pole, Frederick County Public Schools spokesman Michael Doerrer said.

Green Valley was dark for about 90 minutes, while Windsor Knolls was down for about an hour before electricity was restored. Both schools remained open, according to FindOutFirst.

Windsor Knolls also evacuated around 1 p.m. after malfunctioning machinery started smoking. All students and staff were safe, and Doerrer said they returned to the building about 2:15 p.m. 

The kicker ...

Now that Election Day is one short week away, it's a good time to make sure you're up on what moving to a charter government actually means. (But you do already know, right? Right.)

Thanks to students in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Frederick Community College, there's a rap song for anyone who needs a crash course in civics. If you can keep up, you might learn something. Check it out at

Have something to say about education in Frederick County? Email me at or call 240-215-8652.

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